So, picture your business and your tools and assets. You have knowledge and a whole bunch of contacts. This is what years of experience give you. The way to do it is to use your contact network in order for you to provide the services or goods that your clients require. Your customer needs X product; you have a couple of sources of where to get it. You contact the source, you work out an arrangement good for all and you make fees. Your customer needs advice on Y issue; you provide them services based on your experience and vendor contacts and you get another fee. The secret I guess is to keep renewing your contact base and make sure it is well guarded. Your clients and your vendors meet; you are out of a job.
Well, I kind of hate that model. Although it is a logical and used everyday by mostly everyone doing this type of work. I don’t get why I have to hide one from the other. The intelligent and practical, as well as experienced business persons will tell you: because those are your contact and they have value, because if your customer talks to them directly then you have no value, because if I know them, why would I need you.
Well, I think that is precisely why I don’t like it, even if everyone does it. I feel that my value should not be defined by what companies I know or what people I have in my little black book (for those millennials who do not understand this term, refer to Contacts in your iPhone, and then think of it as a printed version with a black cover on both sides). If the only thing that I have is a list of contacts and people who I know, and that is feeding me and my family, then I better start planning something else. These models are outdated, and so are the professionals who use it. Technology has made it possible for you to connect or search anyone on your own practically. All you need is a Linkedin account and a good Google session.
It’s like in “Something about Mary”, when the hitchhiker gets in the car with Ted and tells him about the 8-minute abs workout and how he will revolutionize the industry by introducing the, wait for it, 7-minute abs workout! And if you are not satisfied we will send you the extra minute for free!!! Then Ted tells him, right but what if someone comes out with a 6-minute abs workout? The guy could not see it…. no man it’s the 7-minute ab not 6, who works out in 6 minutes, 7 is the number man! Someone will always beat you on price or someone will find a way to undercut you. Unless your offering is not based on something as simple as contacts or prices.
I think that we should have companies meet our clients everyday, I think that if you are so worried about them sidestepping you, it is because you are not confident in any extra value you bring to the operation, and if that is the case, well my friend, you deserve to be jumped. If you provide your manufacturers a strategic approach, professional behavior and solid customers, fight for them and for their pricing, you might become an important ally for them, and more business will come your way. If you are the guy that is clinging on to contacts, dude, you are or will be done in the short-term, I am sorry to say.
So be transparent and let everyone know who is involved. I particularly want to know who is going to sidestep me as quickly as possible, People who do this, will usually do it ASAP. For me it is the best thing in the world. It releases you from any moral obligations and it basically helps you by removing these people from your business and your life, and you can’t be luckier than that. I invite all the ones who believe they can take advantage of me to do so, because at the end, they will do me a great favor. And I choose to let you take your business somewhere else, that is why I provide an easy out for you….
No man, it’s the 7 minutes, not 6!!!!
Keep calm and stay humble